Infection Prevention Program
Hospital-acquired infections can happen while you receive care for a condition in the hospital. These infections can make you feel sick all over again and put your recovery on hold.
The Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Infection Prevention Program gives you an added layer of protection. We perform regular monitoring and lead care improvement activities that lower your risk of hospital-acquired infections. These efforts help keep more people’s recoveries on track.
Infection prevention at AHN: Why choose us?
Infectious disease physicians lead our infection prevention efforts. Many have completed additional training through our own Infectious Disease Fellowship program. This training allows us to deliver effective infection prevention practices that help patients and AHN staff steer clear of hospital-acquired infections.
Meet our infectious disease faculty.
At AHN, infection prevention is a network-wide effort. Physicians, nurses, and specialists in all of our hospitals work toward lowering infection risks. Our prevention efforts are a guiding force in every patient interaction. For example, we have hand-washing policies that lower the risk of diseases that spread from person to person (communicable diseases).
AHN infection prevention activities
Infectious disease specialists along with pharmacists, nurses, and other physicians meet on a regular basis through our Infection Prevention Committee. At these meetings, we discuss our progress with key infection prevention practices. We also explore ways to improve our efforts.
Key infection prevention activities at AHN include:
- Antibiotic stewardship: We monitor prescribing activity across all AHN facilities. We watch prescriptions to prevent antibiotic overuse and the spread of difficult-to-treat infections. Our efforts help more patients receive the right care for viruses and infections. Read more about our Antibiotic Stewardship Program.
- Infection rate monitoring: We regularly collect data about hospital-acquired infections that occur in AHN facilities. We analyze this information to identify and plan improvement activities to lower infection rates. This information also allows us to see if our improvement projects are successful.
- Discussing new care practices: Research is continuously uncovering new infection prevention methods. Our Infection Prevention Committee discusses the most promising options to determine whether AHN should adopt them. These efforts often give physicians more options for protecting patients against hospital-acquired infections.
Common hospital-acquired infections
Our infection prevention program focuses on lowering rates for hospital-acquired infections.
Common infections include:
- Communicable disease: Conditions such as the flu and hepatitis spread from person-to-person contact. Communicable diseases can spread through unwashed hands, coughs, and accidental needle pokes.
- Central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLASBI): A central line is a tube (catheter) we place in a vein to deliver medication or fluids. A CLASBI happens when bacteria enter the body through the central line.
- Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI): Urinary tract infections (UTIs) occur when organs in your urinary tract, such as your bladder, become infected. If you are in the hospital and have difficulty moving, you may need a catheter to help empty your bladder. A CAUTI happens when bacteria collects in the catheter and enters your body.
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA): This form of bacteria causes skin infections that are difficult to treat. Anyone can get MRSA, especially if you have a cut on the surface of your skin. MRSA spreads through person-to-person contact as well as used medical equipment.
- Surgical site infections: These infections happen when the area where you had surgery becomes infected. Infections may occur near the incision site or beneath the skin in nearby tissue.
- Ventilator-associated pneumonia: If your lungs are sick or damaged, a ventilator is a machine that helps you breathe. If bacteria enter the body through the ventilator, it can cause a lung infection (pneumonia).